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Rakels is a Royal

28 January 2016

23-year-old Latvian striker completes move to Madejski Stadium

Reading Football Club are pleased to confirm that 23-year-old Latvian international striker Deniss Rakels has this afternoon completed a move to Madejski Stadium for an undisclosed fee. Rakels has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2018, with an option to extend for a further year.

Rakels has scored 15 goals for third-placed Cracovia in the Polish top flight this season, a tally which saw him sit in second place in the Ekstraklasa goalscoring charts ahead of today’s move to Reading.

Eight of those goals have come in the in-form striker’s last six games with the Krakow-based side, while his last international appearance came against Oliver Norwood’s Northern Ireland in a friendly back in November.

“I’m delighted that we’ve completed the signing of Deniss,” said manager Brian McDermott. “I spoke to Kaspars Gorkss, who is the Latvia captain and who played here for me of course – and he spoke really highly of Deniss, so I’m really pleased he has decided to join us. He has a really good goalscoring record, especially this season, so this signing is good news for us all.”

Rakels began his career in his native Latvia, demonstrating a keen eye for goal in his early years spent with FK Liepajas Metalurgs, top scoring in the Virsliga (the Latvian top tier) with a total of 18 goals before a move to Poland in January 2011 when he signed for Zaglebie Lubin.

A season-long loan at GKS Katowice saw him impress sufficiently to earn another season in the Polish First League and, after scoring 11 goals in 27 matches for Katowice, he ended the season as one of the division’s sharpest shooters.

In January 2014, Rakels switched back to the Polish top flight to join Cracovia, where the striker has scored a total of 26 goals in little more than 60 appearances.

On the international scene, Rakels made his senior Latvia debut before he turned 18 – coming off the bench to replace Andrejs Pereplotkins in a goalless draw against Lithuania back in the summer of 2010.

He has gone on to become a regular for his country – starting in Euro 2016 qualifying clashes against Turkey, the Czech Republic, Iceland and Kazakhstan this season.

Chief Executive Nigel Howe added, “Our third acquisition of the January transfer window, Deniss Rakels is a young player with a lot of promise – at 23 he already has a proven an eye for goal and he will add to the manager’s attacking options within the squad. I’m really pleased he has chosen to join Reading.”

Deniss is expected to take the number 10 shirt.  The transfer remains subject to international clearance and the normal ratification procedures from the relevant football authorities.

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